Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - Another Catholic school in the Queen City, announces it is closing its doors for good -- and soon.
The Holy Angels Academy Board of Trustees says it hit the perfect storm, and now has no choice.
Students tell Eyewitness News that they had no idea their school was in danger of closing.
The young girls, along with faculty and staff, all found out this afternoon.
After school, about 100 students put on brave faces, and attended a last minute rally. It could be one of their last shows of school spirit at the historical school.
Chants of "keep that angel spirit up" and "save our school" filled the air.
Kaitlyn Denee said "you just would never expect it." Dennee is an eighth generation Holy Angels student in her family. "the teachers, everyone was crying," she continues saying. "It was a huge hit."
Holy Angels Academy and Prep Schools opened in Buffalo in 1861.
"I just met so many amazing friends that I just don't know what I'll do without them," says Keenan Gibson. "And being a junior, all I want to do is graduate from here."
Gibson says Holy Angels Academy is her second home and a safe place for many of the girls.
Several hours after the announcement, students at the rally formed a prayer circle.
Parents, teachers and students were all caught off-guard.
"We could have tried to do something or at least prepared ourselves for this," says Kelly Brouillard, whose freshman daughter had just picked out classes and activities for the following year. "It was like a punch to the gut."
The closure comes partly because of declining enrollment -- a trend years in the making.
"There used to be so many Catholic High Schools," says Trustee Member Maureen Maguire. "Now there are fewer because there are fewer parochial schools, and it's a very unfortunate trend."
Bishop Malone released a statement, saying that he is "saddened" by the schools sudden closure.
He says "I encourage the families of Holy Angels' students to consider furthering their Catholic education at any of our surrounding Catholic elementary schools and Catholic high schools. I ask our school communities to work diligently to make it a smooth transition for these young women as they move to a new educational setting."
Trustee officials are also asking other sister and independent schools to give Holy Angels Academy faculty and staff a chance in the case of openings.
However, many students are still in denial that the doors will close.
At the rally, Megan Myier said "we show how much of a family we are and we're kind of hoping, there is a chance to save us."
The news comes as a blow to families who look at Holy Angels as an affordable option for Catholic school.
Tuition there is just above nine-thousand dollars a year. That's almost two-thousand dollars less than Nardin Academy.
Mount Saint Marry, another all-girls schools has a similar tuition to Angels Academy.
Saint Joe's, an all boys high school, is at $10.5 hundred dollars.
The closure is part of a nationwide trend.
There are about two million students in Catholic school, compared to $50 million in public schools.
There are nearly seven-thousand Catholic schools nationwide.
This academic year, 28 new Catholic schools opened. However, 148 Catholic schools have consolidated or closed in the United States.
Holy Angels Academy will still hold its annual gala this Saturday. Money raised will go towards scholarship funds for this academic year. Trustee members also hope to raise money to go towards the Grey Nuns.
The Grey Nuns, who founded the school in the 19th century, recently donated a million dollars from their retirement fund to try to save the school.
Alumni members are also organizing a fundraiser to benefit to Grey Nun's. They will be hosting an open bar at Fat Bob's on Monday, May 6th from 6:30 - 8:30 pm.
Parents also tell Eyewitness News, they may look into holding other fundraisers -- possibly to try to keep the school open.